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A recent study published in the Journal of American Medicine Association for Surgery, also known as JAMA Surgery, linked doctors’ rudeness with health outcomes and medical malpractice lawsuits.
The authors of the study suggest that if a doctor is rude to a patient, it may be an indicator that he or she will not interact well with the surgery team. The study found that when a surgeon is known to be rude to other people on the surgery team, such as anesthesiologists and nurses, these people are less likely to speak up if a break is needed or an anesthesiologist has concerns about how the procedure will be conducted. This sort of breakdown in the communication of a surgical team can lead to bad patient outcomes or mistakes that can ultimately harm the health of the patient who is receiving the surgery.
When the researchers uncovered rude behavior by a surgeon during surgery based on anonymous responses from the staff, they then looked back in time to evaluate the number and severity of complaints made by patients or their families about the bedside manner of the same doctor. This information has been collected by hospitals since 2000 to help identify and intervene with doctors who could be at high risk of medical malpractice claims. If the doctor was in the group who received the most complaints about rudeness which were made to the hospital or otherwise, the study found that the doctor experienced 13.9 percent more surgical and medical complications in the 30 days following their surgeries than patients whose surgeons had a lower number of complaints. Those complications included surgical-site infections, pneumonia, kidney complications, heart complications, stroke, urinary tract infections and sepsis.
These findings seemed to stay the same even after researchers adjusted the facts for several factors related to an increased risk of adverse surgical outcomes. The results were also significant because it included data from seven different medical centers.
One of the study co-authors pointed out that “[e]ven though there was only a 14 percent difference in adverse outcomes between patients care for by the most respectful and least respectful physicians, if you take those numbers and distribute them across the United States where 27 million surgical procedures are perfected each year, that could represent more than 350,000 surgical site infections, urinary tract infections, sepsis – all kinds of things that we know can be avoided when surgical teams work well together.”
Although the medical profession endeavors to improve its service based on the troubling information revealed by this study, the facts remain that you could have or could be a person affected by an adverse and avoidable medical outcome.
If you or someone you love has been a victim of medical malpractice that occurred during a surgery or otherwise, the Cherry Hill medical malpractice lawyers at Folkman Law Offices, P.C. can help. Contact us at 856-354-9444 for a free case review or submit an online inquiry form. We can see you at a time that is convenient for you in our offices in Cherry Hill, New Jersey, or in Pennsylvania in Philadelphia or King of Prussia.